Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 2012

Is summer over already?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summertime! July - August 2012

It's a wonderful feeling to be able to take it easy for a few months, and that's just what I'm doing this summer. If you've seen the blog previous to this posting, you'll know that I'm taking a bit of a holiday after seventeen years of painting full-time, year-round. It's been an unusually long and warm summer here in Toronto (though rather gloriously so!)...and it's a grand treat to be able to enjoy it. Up until now, almost all my summers have been spent largely indoors getting ready for fall shows.

That said, once the fall does arrive, I plan to begin setting up a new body of work. We shall see how it goes! So, I'll keep you posted about that.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 2012

I'm officially an independent now.

I've closed up shop with Gallery La Petite Mort in Ottawa. I've had a good time with Guy Berube who runs it - nearly four years - but I've felt it's time for a change. Thanks to Guy and the crew at LPM for all their work on my behalf.
For the forseeable future, work will be available for sale from myself, directly.  Works from the past will be available, and some new ones, as well. For a list of them, you can check my website; www.jameshuctwith.ca

The need to change the way I work has been gathering steam for a few years now.
Ever since I started painting for shows back in 1995, I've always felt a bit behind the eight ball. I've been generally working towards shows ever since, but without a cushion of work to fall back on, I've always felt a bit behind. In the last few years it's been becoming clear to me that I needed to reverse the order: get work together first - work done personally at my own discretion - and then look for venues.

So - it's a strange thing to be without full-time galleries for the first time in seventeen years, but it's an exciting time as well. Time to regroup, rethink, savour and prepare for some new adventures.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 2012 Update

Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? It hasn't been quiet here at the studio, though. There have been lots of good developments.

I've let my time with KWT contemporary, in Toronto, go bye-the-bye. They're going through some changes, and I decided that this would be a good time to not overextend myself. So, although they had some work of mine, it's been returned to me. It was wonderful dealing with them though - we had a great time! So, thanks, KWT and all the best!

I'm working away on new personal work. Inner-Bible stories, mythological-mystic figures and jumbly stuff. I'll keep you posted. Say a prayer!

Aside from that, I'm doing some portrait commissions, which are really tough, odd and rewarding. I used to swear I'd never do them, because I was afraid I would never get them right. Now I think they turn out to be lovely - but it is a long haul to do them, because they demand so much consideration. The current one I'm working on has taken three or four times longer than I thought it would. Now, it's turned out really well in my opinion...but it can be a bit nerve-racking at times, living with something uncertain that others are depending on you for. Something quite intimate and lasting. So there are good days and bad weeks...but it certainly is rewarding to see something unexpectedly good come through.

 Hand detail from portrait in progress.

 Things keep getting quieter and quieter, by design. More and more I want to sit with the art and work on it, myself - free from deadlines and business. There's a lot I want to learn and enjoy - and that's stuff you can only do by doing the work attentively. It's no consolation to know you can paint a painting, and miss out on it, even as you work on it. That's working on automatic, or working under pressure. I think it's time for a re-immersion, a re-visioning and some new, lovely approaches.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Update - February 2012

Cryptic notations from the aether.

Well, I'm still working away at some portrait commissions. The one I'm trying to finish first is being particularly resistant to letting me know what to do with it. I started it, then stalled, was sure I could finish it, then wasn't sure if I ever would. Then it sat on and off my easel for a few weeks, while I resented feeling incompetent and slow about it. Then, suddenly, I figured out the background (which always influences the face out front. It's an old artist's saying - if you're having trouble with the figure, look at the background). Then, the background stalled on me again. What's up? Maybe it's the winter blues. Anyway, I've got to finish it up and do it well, which is a bit like demanding a rope be pushable. Happily, the next few steps with it should be fairly straightforward.

I'm doing a lot of sketching. I have, possibly, the worst 'shorthand' in the world for sketching, which means that the meanings I have jotted down in near-abstract line form are near-unreadable to me after the fact. I should get back to life drawing more often and shore this up, I suppose. My sketchbook is filling up with squiggly hieroglyphics, though, which might mean something, somehow. Ergh, the vagueness.

The other portrait comission is just starting out at the compositional and drawing stage. Both the commissions are 16" square, which is an borderline-peculiar size to do a portrait on. First, it's hard to not make the head so large that it doesn't suit one's painting style. It's easy to make it just a bit too big for my brushwork to work properly. Then, if the head tends to be smaller along with the figure, it suddenly creates a whole lot of room around figure that needs to be filled in well. That is challenging too. How dim, how bright? Subject matter or more abstract? Personal to the sitter or otherwise? If so, how and why?

Otherwise, the studio is positively recriminatory with prepared yet unworked on canvasses. Or partially worked on. More on that later.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everybody!

January update:

Not a heck of a lot to report. I'm working on a few portraits and portrait commissions, as well as getting going on a painting for the travelling YESSRS exhibition.

Aside from that, the studio is basically full of canvasses and mounted panels being prepared for painting upon. That means lots of gesso - the protective ground used on the surface to be painted - being deployed. So the studio has all these pure white rectangles starting to proliferate in it. I love the look of them. They're so pure, I hardly want to touch them.